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Ultimate Guide to Free Online Self-Learning for Kids

Ultimate Guide to Free Online Self-Learning Resources for Kids (K-6). 75 resources - video, courses/lessons, references, and more.From random facts to courses from top universities, the Internet is full of places to learn. The key is knowing where to find them. HelpTeaching.com offers a large selection of free online self-paced lessons for math, science, social studies, and English, but there are many other resources out there as well. We have gathered links to help kids in grades pre-K through sixth grade learn online. The 70+ resources are organized by type (videos, online courses, reference materials, and more). Kids can learn by exploring these resources on their own or teachers can incorporate them into lessons to help enhance learning in the classroom.

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Videos Courses & Lessons
Reference Materials General Knowledge & Trivia

Books

Our Top Pick

Magic Keys has made a wealth of storybooks available to kids. Storybooks are organized by age level (younger children, older children, young adult). It’s one of the few story sites out there that doesn’t just focus on younger readers. Many of its stories also feature character lessons for kids, making them even more beneficial for kids!

Pre-K through 2nd Grade

Most public libraries now offer free access to eBooks only, but you typically need a library card to access them. These resources offer kid free access to quality textbooks, non-fiction eBooks, and important documents – no library card required.
International Children’s Digital Library provides access to thousands of free digital books for children. These books come from around the world, making it easy for kids to find fairy tales, folklore, and other resources to help them explore different cultures.
Reading Bear offers free learning resources for early readers, including presentations on short and long vowels. The fun presentations are all free and cover all major phonics rules.
Unite for Literacy offers many read-alouds for kids. Most of the books are non-fiction picture books that focus on using simple sentences and key vocabulary words.
StoryJumper has a library full of digital fiction and non-fiction books for kids. It also gives kids the opportunity to create their own books.

3rd through 6th Grade

National Geographic Life offers reading passage for kids at beginner/elementary, pre-intermediate/intermediate, and upper-intermediate/advanced levels. Passages feature audio recordings and reading comprehension questions.
100 Milestone Documents introduces kids to 100 documents that play an important role in American history. Through this site, kids can access the text of documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Patent for Cotton Gin.
Scholastic: Listen and Read features 15 non-fiction books to help kids learn about people in their community, animals, and the job of the president. Audio is provided to help kids as they read.
Literacy Wagoll teaches kids “what a good one looks like” by providing them with samples of exemplar writing. A variety of essay types and other styles of writing are provided.

Courses/Lessons

You don’t have to pay for expensive tutors or pay the tuition to an Ivy League university to get kids access to high-quality courses. These resources feature courses put together by top universities and other experts in the field to help kids learn about a whole host of subjects. Whether kids want to learn how to solve complex math problems or learn how to play the piano, there’s a free course available.

Our Top Pick

HelpTeaching.com’s own collection of math, science, and English lessons combines entertaining video and text-based lessons with short, interactive quizzes. Teachers and parents can choose lessons for kids to complee on their own or can incorporate them into whole class and small group based lessons. Lessons are organized by subject, grade-level, and length. Teachers and parents can also create their own tests and quizzes to accompany the lessons, and then administer them using our Test Room feature.

Pre-K through 2nd Grade

Starfall is a free resource designed to teach kids to read. By watching its free videos, listening to the songs, and reading the short stories, kids may even learn to read on their own.
E-learning for Kids features a wealth of free lessons for kids in many different subject areas. Access to lessons is available in five different languages.

3rd through 6th Grade

Kidastronomy.com offers two free astronomy courses for kids. One is for ages 7-11 and one is for ages 12-18. Both courses teach kids all about astronomy.
English Grammar 101 is full of free grammar lessons for kids and adults. Lessons are also great for ESL students.
Plural Sight works with Scratch and other coding programs to provide kids with free technology lessons. Kids can also learn about photography and website building with the free courses.
Youth Digital is focused on helping kids ages 8-14 build their tech skills. With their free online courses, kids can learn how to code, program, and creatively use technology.
Code.org has gained a lot of recognition for its free coding courses. Even the President has completed an hour of code and your kids can too.
Kid Courses is an organization focused on presenting free online courses for kids. Its standout lessons are called MathLibs, but they also offer lessons in art and rhetoric.
Canvas Network is a collection of MOOC courses from universities around the world. Many of the courses it offers may be of interest to upper elementary and middle school students too.
DiscoveryK12 is a free learning portal for homeschool families. An account is required, but all course materials are completely free.
LearnZillion focuses on presenting engaging video lessons to teach the Common Core. Creating an account is free and gives kids access to all of the lessons.
Kids Guitar Zone helps kids who want to learn to play the guitar do it for free. The site features 10 lessons to get kids started.
ChessKid is designed to help kids learn to play chess online. With this site, kids get free chess lessons and can test their skills against other kids from around the world.

All Ages

Grammar Monster has a large collection of free grammar lessons and activities to help kids learn about punctuation, parts of speech, and other elements of grammar on their own. While the majority of the lessons are appropriate for kids, a few do contain references to adult subjects (namely quotes involving alcohol), so parents and teachers should preview lessons before assigning them to kids.
Curriki features free curriculum resources created and approved by teachers from around the world. Parents and teachers can use the resources to create their own lessons or kids can review the resources to learn on their own.
CoolMath offers free interactive lessons for pre-algebra, algebra, and pre-calculus. Not only are the lessons fun, but the site also offers a host of free math games for kids to play.
AAA Math offers free online math lessons for kids. Lessons cover a variety of grade-levels and skills.
Hoffman Academy offers 100 free piano lessons for kids. Each lesson is accompanied by practice opportunities.
Free Piano Lessons for Kids features 22 lessons designed to teach kids how to play the piano. Kids will learn how to sit at the piano and even how to play a few songs.
CK12 is an awesome learning portal for kids. It combines videos, textbooks, and other lesson materials to help kids learn online. This resource is a high-quality, interactive site for kids. It offers fun simulations, plenty of practice opportunities, and other activities designed to motivate kids to learn. We especially love the BrainFlex challenge which encourages kids to build their skills while they’re out of school.

Videos

Videos appeal to video and auditory learners. Some videos bring experts in a field directly into the home or classroom. Other videos use creative strategies and images to help kids learn difficult concepts and skills. The skills don’t have to be academic either. With videos kids can learn how to cook, how to crochet, or even how to ride a bike.

Our Top Pick
EarthCam gives kids access to webcams from around the world. They can see what is going on live at thousands of destinations. Kids at this age can’t drive and parents often don’t have the time or resources to travel around the world with their kids. By looking at the webcams, kids can experience the world in real-time without leaving the house.

Pre-K through 2nd Grade

Universal Kids allows kids to watch episodes of some of its most popular shows.
PBS Kids videos give young kids access to episodes of some of their favorite PBS shows. The best part is that these shows are also educational.
Super Simple Learning is a company focused on creating educational songs for kids. Their website features free videos of many of their songs.

3rd through 6th Grade

Khan Academy gives kids one piece of information, “you can learn anything.” It gives them the opportunity to learn with thousands of videos on a variety of topics.
WatchKnowLearn features free educational videos organized by subject area. Parents and teachers will also find videos aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
NEO K12 is a site full of educational videos on topics ranging from physical science to ancient history. Games and lessons are also included to help kids learn even more.
YouTube EDU highlights some of the most educational videos available on YouTube. Videos are available for kids in early elementary school all the way through college.

All Ages

BrainPop is a staple in many schools. While access to the full site requires a subscription, kids can still watch many of the fun videos for free.
TeacherTube is a website similar to YouTube. The difference is that all of the videos are designed to be educational.
Explore.org encourages kids to explore the world through webcams. Kids can view live webcams from around the world or watch informational films.
The Kid Should See This is focused on providing high-quality educational videos for kids. These videos focus on innovative technology and other cool ideas.
My Education Key features video lectures from colleges and other educational institutions. Content covers a range of age levels from kindergarten through college.
MIT K12 gives kids a look at science in the real world through its collection of videos.
Make Me Genius helps kids learn about science through free videos, PowerPoint presentations, and other resources.

Reference Materials

If kids want to conduct research using an encyclopedia, they no longer have to search for the correct volume, looking up the definition of a word doesn’t require thumbing through a massive dictionary, and most kids today have never even seen an almanac. All of these resources, which are chock full of information can be accessed for free online.

Our Top Pick
Awesome Library has organized thousands of high-quality resources for kids. They can explore by topic or keyword to find information they need. When kids use a standard search engine, you can’t guarantee the results will be kid-friendly, but all of the resources that appear in an Awesome Library search have been reviewed and approved. This gives kids the freedom to search for what they want in a safe space.

Encyclopedias

Enyclopedia Smithsonian takes the Smithsonian’s amazing collections and turns them into an interactive encyclopedia. Kids can search by keyword or browse by topic.
Encyclopedia Britannica is one of the top encyclopedia companies in history and kids can access its content online. The site also includes the most current world news.
DKFindout! takes the content from DK readers and makes it more interactive. Kids can learn about a whole host of topics in an encyclopedia style.
Again But Slower takes a Wikipedia page and simplifies it to make it easier to read.

Dictionaries

Internet Picture Dictionary looks simple, but it’s a great free dictionary designed to help kids learn new words. It’s particularly helpful for kids learning English as a second language.
Visual Dictionary Online gives kid a new view of the dictionary. They see words connected to images which helps them make connections and gain a better understanding of key words.
Merriam Webster is one of the leading names in reference sources. Its online site gives kids free access to a dictionary, thesaurus, and more.
BigIQKids Dictionary features many of the key words kids need to know. It also speaks each of the words.

Search Engines and Misc. Facts

Boolify helps kids learn how to conduct more successful online searches using fun puzzle-style pieces.
Infoplease.com is an virtually every type of reference book all rolled into one. Kids can also find a calculator, spell checker, and other key resources.
Safe Search Kids performs a safe Google search for kids and also offers internet safety guides for kids, parents, and teens.
Kiddle offers a safe visual search engine for kids with websites, videos, images, and kpedia entries in the results.

Atlases and Almanacs

Owl & Mouse – Atlas introduces kids to the world through maps and facts for every country.
Farmer’s Almanac for Kids makes the traditional Farmer’s Alamanc accessible to kids. It features information on the weather and resources to help them learn about the world around them.

General Knowledge/Trivia

Learning doesn’t always have to have a particular focus. Sometimes kids learn the most just by hearing random facts and bits of information. These small morsels of knowledge don’t only serve as conversation starters, they can also inspire kids to want to learn more about a topic.

Our Top Pick
FAQ Kids gives kids a place to find answers to their questions. Questions are organized by category. The site itself is simply designed, but the answers are anything but simple. Many of them are 2-3 paragraphs long and contain facts to back them up.

Pre-K through 2nd Grade

Duckster features short encyclopedia-style entries on many different topics. All are written in kid-friendly language.
DLTK’s Crafts for Kids is more than just crafts. It’s a site full of educational printables and other information for kids, along with fun crafts and activities.
Squigly’s Playhouse gives kids a place to play and learn. They can learn through games, fun facts, or crafts and activities.

3rd through 6th Grade

National Geographic helps kids learn about nature and the world through its interactive content. Kids can play games, read articles, and watch videos
ScienceKids.co.nz is focused on helping kids enjoy science. They’ll learn facts about a variety of topics and find fun experiments to complete.
FactMonster is full of facts for kids. Facts are organized by topic and there’s even a special homework help section.
Facts for Kids helps kids learn unique facts about people, places, history, and animals.
KidsKnowIt is a collection of websites and educational games for kids. By browsing the sites, kids can learn a lot.
Globaloria teaches kids about the world by encouraging them to design games of their own and to play games created by kids.
Fun Trivia is a quiz site designed for kids and adults. Kids can learn all kinds of facts by taking many of the fun quizzes on the site.

All Ages

Kids World Fun features lots of tips for kids, a “Did you know?” section, and even quotes of the day.
Cool Kid Facts introduces kids to fun facts on a variety of topics. Kids can learn about science, geography, history, or animals.
Funology wants kids to have fun. It provides them with recipes, experiments, and facts to help them have fun while learning.

Do you have any favorites from the resources above? Share them in the comments!

Ultimate Guide to Free Online Self-Learning for Teens and Adults

Ultimate Guide to Free Online Self-Learning for Teens and Adults
Learning doesn’t have to take place in a traditional classroom setting. With the help of the Internet, teens and adults can gain a wealth of information and build new skills on their own. From free textbooks to courses from top universities, HelpTeaching.com has gathered 75 of the best free online resources to help you learn online for free. Whether you’re 16 or 96, there’s no excuse to not learn something new today. We’ve organized our resources by category and have noted whether each resource is best for teens (T), college (C), or everyone (E) to help you find exactly what you need.

Books

Reading is one of the best ways to gain new information. These resources provide free access to some of the best-known books in history and high-quality academic textbooks. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on these books, teens and adults can learn from them for free.

Our Top Pick
Spectra, a comic book series from The American Physical Society, helps teens learn about physics in a very engaging format. At least eight different volumes can be accessed for free on Physics Central and will help teens learn how physics applies to every day and superhero life. T

Textbooks

Bookboon delivers textbooks on subjects such as IT, language, technology, and career advice in a free PDF format. These books are ideal for adult and community college learners. C

Textbook Revolution contains a database of free textbooks for many different subject areas. Books are organized by subject and searchable by title. C

Free Tech Books is a list of links to free technology-based books. Many books cover advanced topics related to engineering, computers, and mathematics. C

Open Stax provides college students with free, open source textbooks designed to meet their course standards and objectives. Books focus on science and math courses. C

College Open Textbook Collaborative was created to draw attention to the open textbook movement. Its collection includes a selection of free textbooks covering different subject areas, including some appropriate for high school. E

The Global Text Project is focused on making non-fiction books and textbooks available to people around the world. Books cover a range of academic subjects. E

Classic Texts and Literature

The Harvard Classics are a collection of fifty books designed to cover the major areas of philosophy, religion, history, and literature. Many organizations, including Bartleby, offer access to them for free. E

Project Gutenberg has thousands of free eBooks featuring texts in the public domain. Books include classic literature and non-fiction pieces. E

Bookstacks is a free collection of literature that features titles from authors such as Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, and Leo Tolstoy. E

Google Books allows users to look up published books by title and preview many of those books for free. It’s a great resource for research. E

BookRix offers a large selection of free eBooks for download. Many books are works of fiction published by Indie authors. E

Free Booksy helps users find free eBooks for Nook and Kindle. Sign up for the free e-mail list or read the blog to see which books are available for free on certain days of the week. E

Read Any Book allows users to read a variety of eBooks by both Indie and well-known authors for free in their free online e-reader. E

Audio

Free audio learning resources make it easy for teens and adults to learn on the go. Audio books and podcasts are great to listen to while running or riding in the car. They can also be more entertaining than learning from a more traditional text.

Our Top Pick
Gutenberg Audio has a large collection of audio versions of public domain books. Many of the books are in English, but the site also has a huge selection of audio books in other languages, such as Chinese, Spanish, Hungarian, Tagalog, and more. E

Loyal Books, formerly Books Should be Free, features thousands of free audio books for download. Many books are fiction, but there’s also a large selection of non-fiction books to choose from. E

Internet Archive: Audio isn’t just limited to eBooks. It also features recordings of famous speeches and popular songs throughout history. E

Librivox is a site full of public domain audio books. All books are read by volunteers. You can download one to listen to or volunteer to record books yourself. C

Learn Out Loud offers a collection of free audio books, audio courses, and other learning materials. Be sure to search under the “Free Stuff” tab because the site does offer some books for sale. C

Podcasts may not be as popular as they once were, but many educational podcasts are still going strong. Browse the available podcasts on iTunes to learn something new. E

PodOmatic is another podcasts website that offers millions of podcasts by amateur podcasters. You can listen to some or record your own to share what you have learned. E

Podbean offers a platform for hosting and listening to free podcasts. You’ll find podcasts on a range of topics. E

Podiobooks takes the serial book format and presents it in the form of audio books. Find a new series to follow today! E

Videos

Videos offer a wide range of learning opportunities. Many video series help teens and adults build practical skills, such as how to fix flat tire or how to cook an omelet. Other videos feature lectures and narration from experts in the field.

Our Top Pick
Free Documentaries makes many fascinating documentaries available for free. Documentaries are available on topics such as health, politics, human rights, and religion. You can also sign up to be notified when new documentaries are added to the free database. E

DIY Network helps you spruce up your home by providing free online episodes of its most popular shows and video-based blogs with tips and tricks. C

Ted Talks have become well-known for the expert advice they contain. Watch as experts in their fields share their wisdom with you. E

BrightTalk focuses on providing free business and webinars to those interested in the business world. Find resources in areas such as finance, human resources, marketing, and information technology. C

Green.TV features videos in a variety of categories related to creating a sustainable culture. Categories include business, nature, energy, people, and transport, among others. E

All Things Science has transferred its wealth of science-based videos to Daily Motion. There teens and adults can learn about scientific innovations and see how science connects to daily life. E

CosmoLearning combines free online courses with videos and documentaries to help students learn about a variety of subjects. E

MIT Video brings the quality of MIT lectures to your computer. The videos all focus on science and technology-related content with over 100 channels of specific topics to choose from. C

@Google Talks are similar to Ted Talks and feature many professionals sharing their knowledge. This includes talks with celebrities and musicians too. E

Videolectures.net takes college lectures, academic talks, and conference videos, and organizes them into a free video site. The site has over 20,000 videos in many different languages. C

Courses/Lessons

Finding the time and the money to take college courses can be expensive. Through the MOOC and Open Course movements, teens and adults can access courses from the top universities for free. These resources help people reap the benefits from experts in the field and make it easier to explore topics of interest.

Our Top Pick
HelpTeaching.com’s own collection of math, science, and English lessons combines entertaining video and text-based lessons with short, interactive quizzes. Teachers and parents can choose lessons for kids to complee on their own or can incorporate them into whole class and small group based lessons. Lessons are organized by subject, grade-level, and length. Teachers and parents can also create their own tests and quizzes to accompany the lessons, and then administer them using our Test Room feature.

Subject-Specific Courses

OER Commons is a large collection of free open education resources designed for students in primary school through adult learners. Best of all, you can combine resources to create your own textbook or course and then share it with others or save it for future reference. E

iCivics features a collection of free lesson plans and games decided to help teens learn about civics. T

A Crash Course in World History teaches you the history of the world in 42 episodes. E

My Own Business, Inc. helps adults by providing them with all the information they need to start their own business. C

SBA Learning Center is designed to teach wanna-be business owners the ins and outs of owning a small business. There’s even a section geared towards young entrepreneurs. E

College Courses

MIT Open Courseware allows you to access the content of MIT courses from the comfort of your own home. Search by topic, course number, or department. C

Open Culture has collected links to thousands of free courses, movies, and other educational materials available online. Their resources include free certificate courses. E

iTunes U is a collection of courses, audio files, and video designed to help you learn on your computer or any of your Apple devices. E

Wikiversity is a collection of educational photos, projects, and lesson ideas designed to help people learn from one another. E

Course Buffet finds open courses, tags them, and makes them easier for users to access. You’ll find top courses from many universities. C

Udacity helps people build their portfolios through its range of free tech courses. They can even earn nanodegrees. C

Coursera partners with over 100 universities and other educational organizations to provide over 1,000 free online courses. E

EdX is another site that makes it easy to find free open courses from top universities. While all courses are free, you can also earn college credit for some courses by paying a small fee. C

OEDB offers free open courses from many top universities. It also includes information on financial aid and scholarships to help those who want to go back to school. E

UC Open Access offers free courses from the University of California. These include courses for high school students, such as AP Statistics and AP US History. E

Reference Materials

Looking up a random piece of information doesn’t have to require pulling out a dictionary or buying an entire set of encyclopedias. Free online reference materials make it easy for teens and adults to look up information such as the definition of a word, stats on a particular country, or the peak growing season in a region.

Our Top Pick
Almanac.com is a go-to resource for all things nature and weather-related. It also offers resources on cooking, baking, home, and health. Just as people used to use the paper-based version of the Farmer’s Almanac for information in the past, you will find this website to be a handy reference. E

Dictionaries

Dictionary.com offers a free, online dictionary. You can also learn by checking out the word of the day. E

RhymeZone is a great resource for budding poets and others who like to rhyme. Simply type in a word and find a list of words that rhyme. E

Freelang provides free foreign language dictionaries which can be useful when attempting to learn a foreign language. E

Encyclopedias

Encyclopedia.com allows you to search over 100 different encyclopedias and other reference books to get the best information. E

Wikipedia is definitely one of the most popular encyclopedias online. It’s a great source for initial research, but facts should always be double-checked. E

Other Reference Sources

Goodreads contains reviews of books and also has a search feature that allows users to find quotes from popular books. It’s a great resource, particularly when writing a paper. E

Internet Public Library for teens helps teens finds books, websites, and other resources for learning. It’s also a great site for homework help. T

Ref Desk highlights some of the best reference websites and organizes different reference resources into categories to make it easy to find whatever you need. E

World Atlas offers maps from around the world, along with articles about where to travel and key information about different countries. E

General Knowledge/Trivia

Life-long learners aren’t always focused on taking a course or learning about a specific topic. Many times, they simply enjoy gathering random information. The Internet is full of many free resources designed to provide them with just that. Not all of the information is useful, but it is certainly interesting, and you never know when a piece of information, like 10 different ways to use a gumball, could come in handy.

Our Top Pick
Mental Floss is a magazine and a website dedicated to providing readers with random facts and information. You can learn all about history, literature, and science, as well as fun facts about pop culture topics, such as television shows and movies. E

How-To

HowStuffWorks explains just what you think it would – how stuff works. Search by keyword or category. E

WikiHow is a how-to website that teaches you how to do almost anything you want to do with step-by-step instructions, pictures, and videos. E

Instructables offers instructions for all sorts of DIY projects. They range from home projects to crafts and science experiments. E

LearnThat.com focuses on helping you learn new information related to business, personal finance, and technology. It does so through a series of blogs and video tutorials. C

Questions and Answers

Whyzz is focused on providing answers to questions. Type in a question to search the Whyzz database for answers. E

Quora bills itself as the best answer to any question. On this site, you can search for answers to a question that has already been asked or post your own question and wait for others to answer. C

Trivia

Buzzfeed is known for its funny videos and slideshows. While a lot of its content is humorous, it’s also a great place to learn something new. C

Bored.com encourages you to end boredom by learning something new. It is full of fun articles and activities. E

Brain Jet provides your daily cerebral stream through its articles and videos full of random tips and information. E

Daily Infographic highlights an infographic each day, making it a good way to learn a large amount of information at once. E

Homework Help

Shmoop offers a series of online courses and study guides designed to help high school students. Each comes with a dose of Shmoop-style humor. T

SparkNotes is known for its literature guides, but also offers many study guides for other subjects and major standardized tests. T

CPM Homework Help offers help with math homework at the high school level, focusing on courses such as algebra and calculus. T

About.com is a website full of informational articles, lists of links, and other resources to help with homework or just to help you learn random facts. E

No matter how old you are, you’re never too old to learn. For more free educational resources, check out the Ultimate Guide to Free Online Self-Learning for Kids. Don’t forget to check out our Ultimate Guide to Teaching Science and Top 100 Free Education Sites too.

What are some of your favorite resources for self-learning? We’d love to hear them!

Creative Ways to Teach about US Presidents

Creative Ways to Teach about US Presidents
While President’s Day is typically associated with Washington and Lincoln, the holiday lends itself well to lessons and projects on all of our country’s Founding Fathers. Pair these presidential activities with Help Teaching’s graphic organizers and printable worksheets for the full presidential treatment.

Presidential Puppetry

All you need is a Popsicle stick and a printed head shot of a president. Ask your students to write a script around an important concept or theme in American History, such as the writing of the Constitution, the debate over slavery, or even a silly dinner party at the White House. The students can use Help Teaching’s Plot Diagram to assist them in writing their script, or use the Story Map to develop the action in their tale.

Presidential Baseball Cards

Baseball cards show a player’s statistics over his playing career. A presidential baseball card shows the chief executive’s accomplishments by year, his biographical information, and political affiliation. Help Teaching’s Writing Box with Lines is the perfect vehicle for this project. Paste the president’s photo in the empty box and put his presidential information in the lines below.

Presidential Campaign Posters

Every president was once a candidate, and campaigning has been an American institution for over a century. Have your students research the issues of the day and create a campaign poster for their assigned candidate. Draw them in with a lesson on slogans, mottos, and campaign ads, showing them examples of modern day tactics from the campaign trail. Use Help Teaching’s Boxes and Bullets Diagram organizer to narrow down the most important issues of the candidate’s time.

Presidential Experts

Make each of your students an “expert” on one president. Put together a living museum with five students speaking as the commander in chief per day. Use a simple Web Diagram worksheet to dictate which aspects of the president’s term should be emphasized.

Presidential Bingo

Give students a list of 24 presidents and instruct them to fill one in each box of a Bingo card (Don’t forget to leave the middle space free!). Then read a brief description of one of the 24 presidents. Students will check off the president they think you are describing. The first student with five checked off presidents in a row on the Bingo card wins!

Presidential Quizzes

Help Teaching has a slew of worksheets to quiz students on the presidents of the United States. There are quizzes on presidents throughout history, just the early presidents,  and activities surrounding both the 2008 and 2012 presidential election results.

Presidential Videos

John Adams - TV Series
There are various YouTube channels dedicated to specific US presidents or the office of the president in general. Take a tour through “The American Presidents“, “Presidential Facts“, and the dozens of presidential libraries that offer YouTube channels.
There are also plenty of Hollywood films that will enhance any lesson or activity about residents of the White House. Films like 1776 show our Founding Fathers as they fought for independence from Great Britain; Lincoln, the recent awarding winning film starring Daniel Day-Lewis, is a gripping account of one of our greatest presidents; HBO’s miniseries on the under appreciated President John Adams has many interesting nuggets to share; Thirteen Days in a terrific film that captures the tension in the country during the Cuban Missile Crisis, under the stewardship of President Kennedy in 1963. For more tips on using film in your class, see an earlier post on “How to Use Hollywood Movies in the Social Studies Classroom“.

President’s Day is more than just a day off from school, and it is more than a day to remember Washington and Lincoln. Use the activities above to make learning the presidents fun and exciting and don’t forget to check out Everything Your Students Always Wanted to Know About Electing the President, but were too Afraid to Ask.

25 Ways to Show Kids You Care About Them

25 Ways to Show Kids You Care About Them
You can spend hours trying to teach kids right from wrong and filling their heads with knowledge, but at the end of the day they just want to know you care about them. Of course, simply telling them that you care about them isn’t good enough. As we often tell kids, “Actions speak louder than words.”

We’ve gathered up a list of simple ways to show kids you care about them. Use them regularly and you may begin to find that the kids you interact with on a daily basis are happier and more likely to follow your guidance, all because they know that you care.

1. Keep Your Word

Kids pay attention to what you say. If you make a promise, keep it. If you’re not sure you’ll be able to keep a promise, then say, “I’ll try my best, but I can’t guarantee it.”

2. Be Honest

Kids value your opinion and nothing lets them down like learning that you’ve lied to them. Little white lies, like “Wow! That’s a great painting,” are fine. Bigger lies that they could discover, “Like, I’d love to go to your game, but I have to stay late and grade papers,” are not.

3. Encourage Their Dreams

Even if their dream is to become a giraffe, encourage it. “I bet you’ll be the best giraffe there is!” Kids need to be encouraged to dream and think creatively.

4. Write Them Notes of Encouragement

Little notes like “Keep up the good work” or “Great job on your presentation” will help motivate kids and show them that you notice them. You don’t have to give notes for everything they do. A little encouragement once a week or so will go a long way.

5. Compliment Them

Randomly take some time to pay them a compliment, even if it’s just something as small as, “I really like your sweater today.” This also helps kids know you notice them.

6. Tell Them You’re Proud of Them

If you’ve ever told a preschooler or elementary-aged child you’re proud of them, you probably saw a positive reaction. Kids have a desire to make grown-ups proud and hearing that they have done so gives them a wonderful feeling.

7. Catch Them Doing Something Good

As parents and teachers, we often catch kids doing something bad. However, we should work harder to catch them doing something good, and then point it out. For example, “I noticed you helped Kayla pick up the crayons she spilled. Thanks for being so helpful.”

8. Don’t Point Out Every Mistake

Kids don’t always recognize that pointing out their mistakes is a way of showing you care. Instead they think, “I can never do anything right.” When you see little mistakes, let them go. Chances are the kids recognize them and are working on fixing them themselves.

9. Say Yes Frequently

Just like kids don’t like it when you point out their mistakes, they don’t like to hear the word no. Even though your no may be justified, saying no too many times can give kids a negative feeling. Some experts suggest trying to say yes two or three times for every no.

10. Give Them a Hug

Or a pat on the back, a high five, or a handshake. If you’re a teacher, you might have to be careful about touching students, but there’s nothing wrong with a simple high five or a handshake to say, “Job well done.” A simple pat on the back can say, “I know you’re struggling and I’m here for you.”

11. Cheer Them Up When They’re Having a Bad Day

Usually when a kid is having a bad day, you can tell. While a hug or pat on the back can help, sometimes you just need to lighten the mood. Tell a joke. Point out something silly. Make a crazy face. Sometimes that’s enough to help kids redirect and forget about their bad mood for a moment.

12. Be Silly with Them

Kids love to sing silly songs, make silly faces, and enjoy other silly actions. Next time you’re singing that crazy song or reading a silly book, take time to make zany noises or motions. Kids need to know you’re not so stuffy and that you’re willing to let your guard down with them.

13. Smile at Them

Let kids know you’re happy to see them by giving them a smile. In the classroom, greet them with a smile in the morning and send them off with a smile in the afternoon. Whenever they catch your eye, smile to show you care.

14. Be Approachable

If you always have a frown on your face or constantly tell your kids that it’s not a good time, they’re going to stop coming to you. Let them know they’re important by making some time for them when they come to you. If you truly are busy and it’s a bad time, say something like, “I want to hear this. Give me five minutes to finish it and then I’m all ears.”

15. Talk to Them

Of course you talk to kids every day, but do you take time to just let them talk? Take a few minutes to let kids tell you something interesting or share what’s on their mind. Respond to them appropriately, but let them do the majority of the talking.

16. Play with Them

Making Barbie talk or rolling toy cars around of the floor may not be your idea of fun, but you should still take time to enjoy these activities with kids. Just five or ten minutes of play lets kids know you want to spend time with them.

17. Take an Interest in Their Interests

One of the best ways to let kids know you care is to take an interest in something they’re interested in. If they have a favorite TV show, learn the theme song and the names of the characters. If they have a favorite sport, know some of the rules of the game. Kids will be impressed when you can spout off some of this knowledge on the fly.

18. Ask for Their Input

Kids have opinions and love to be given the opportunity to express them. If you have a decision to make involving your home or classroom, give kids some input. This lets them know that their opinions matter.

19. Let Them Help You

Many hands make light work, but when those hands are little, they can often make work take a lot longer. However, giving kids little tasks to do makes them feel important, so find ways they can help.

20. Be Patient

The simplest tasks, such as zipping a coat or putting on a pair of shoes, can take forever with kids. Instead of constantly saying, “Hurry up” or showing other signs of impatience, stay calm and give them the time they need.

21. Make Them Feel Safe

Feeling safe is really important to kids. If you’re a teacher, you may have kids that have unstable home environments, so school has to be a safe place for them. Make kids feel safe by establishing rules, creating a cozy environment, and controlling your emotions when they’re around.

22. Stand Up for Them

Kids need adults to advocate for them. Let them know that you’re always in their corner by standing up for them when they’re wronged and by helping them fight their battles. However, don’t come to their defense so often that they don’t learn how to handle problems themselves.

23. Show Up to Their Events

If kids participate in extracurricular activities or have a special event scheduled, take the time to show up. Nothing says “I care about you” more than having their teacher or parents show up to an event they’ve been preparing for. Showing up says that you care enough to give up some of your time for them.

24. Display Their Work

If kids draw you a picture or make you a gift, display it proudly. You can also put a picture of the child in a special place. Let them know that they and their work are worthy of being on display.

25. Remember Their Birthdays

Birthdays are a big deal for kids. Even if all you do is say, “Happy Birthday,” acknowledging their special day will show them you care. Even better, give them a special sticker, birthday hat, or a small birthday treat.

Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or work with children in another way, you should take time to show them that you care. Do you have other ways to show kids you care? If so, share them with us so we can use them on the kids in our lives!

5 Reasons to Reconsider Vocational Education

5 Reasons to Reconsider Vocational Education
Employers are facing a major skills gap. It’s a problem that exists around the world. As more students pursue four-year degrees, the numbers of those entering the technical trades has started to dwindle. These trades include jobs such as plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and even cosmetologists. While these careers may not represent those students traditionally consider, they offer plenty of opportunities to earn an honest income. They’re also in high-demand. As state and local education departments begin to devote more time and money to creating new career and technical education centers, it’s time for everyone else to take a second look at vocational education.

Technical Trades are in High Demand
Did you know that demand for cosmetologists is expected to rise by 20% between 2008 and 2018? The same is true for plumbing, which is expected to grow by 22% by 2022, and for electricians. Even as the world becomes more complex and focused on technology, people still need those skilled in the trades to complete a variety of tasks.

Vocational Training is Inexpensive
The increasing cost of college has many students looking for less expensive options. Often, obtaining vocational training costs much less and takes less time than a traditional four-year degree. While the average starting salary for a graduate of a trade school may be less than a graduate with a four-year degree, when you add in the difference in cost and the potential for future earnings, taking the trade school route may seem more appealing.

There is Opportunity for Advancement
Many who go into vocational trades do not remain in lower-level positions for the duration of their career. In fact, once they get some experience under their belts, many start their own businesses and begin to hire and manage employees of their own. Those who opt not to go out on their own can still advance to supervisory and management positions within their companies. If they are laid off from a company, it’s often much easier to find another job than with less technical career paths.

Technical Skills Save You Money
Even if students do not pursue a career in a technical field, just having technical skills can benefit them in life. Think about the amount of money you spend to fix a plumbing problem. Now imagine how much you’d save if you could fix that problem yourself. Those who know a technical trade can save themselves and their family members a lot of money by doing high-priced repairs themselves. A carpenter can save a lot of money by doing remodeling work. A cosmetologist can save money by doing family members’ hair.

Some students even use the technical skills they’ve learned in high school to help them pay for a four-year degree in another area. For example, a student with culinary arts skills can work as a cook or even run a culinary business while going to school. A student with carpentry skills can work construction jobs in the summer to help pay for school in the fall.

Technical Skills Benefit Companies
Even if students opt to pursue a degree in another field, having technical skills can help them when they enter the workforce. For example, in STEM fields, understanding the principals of electricity or drafting can help students develop stronger technologies. Knowing how to read and take apart technical texts can also be beneficial when it comes to reading business manuals and understanding complex systems in the workplace.

At Help Teaching, we are well aware of the benefits of vocational education. That’s why we’ve made a commitment to developing materials related to some of the most popular vocational trades. Visit our Vocational Education page to find worksheets related to the following careers and skills:

Watch for more subject areas, such as auto body and welding, coming soon as our vocational education offerings expand.

Do you teach vocational education or have you seen the benefits of technical training firsthand? If so, we’d love to hear about your experiences.